I have a private barn boarding mostly retired horses. I have them in two herds. Yesterday and today, I've noticed that four of the horses (out of 11) have lost interest in their feed. It happens that they are all the hard keepers, and there are two in one herd, and two in the other.
They are otherwise bright eyed and bushy tailed. Since it is several horses and in different fields, I'm wondering if the grass is just starting to come in and perhaps that's why? (It is very early spring here, but the grass is *just* starting).
Anyway, that's my theory, but I've never heard of this, or noticed this in past years. Can anyone offer any guidance?
My horses will also leave their hay alone and start picking for green grass as soon as the first blade shows its face. If they are otherwise acting normal, no temperature, lethargy, etc, then I would contribute it to the fact that they woudl prefer green grass and will eat whatever pieces they can get.
"If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."
If you use tank heaters for the water test the water and be sure you have no stray voltage in the tank.
You need a volt meter (cheap) put it on 1.5v stick the red end in the water and touch the black end to a rod that is grounded. If the needle moves, you can bet they are not drinking.
BTW you can not feel the stray voltage until it reaches 30 v a horse thinks it has hit a hot fence at just a few volts.
Or you can just lead them to the tank and see if they drink.
Back from evening feeding -- all temps are normal, and everyone is acting normal. Of the four that were off their feed in the morning, two are eating again, and two are picking at their food, but they are inclined to do that anyway.
Lucky for me one of the horses in question is owned by an equine vet, and she thought if all else was normal it was fine to watch and see. She mentioned that coincidentally another client of hers happened to mention the exact same thing to her (two of their horses weren't finishing their grain). I also saw one of the herds ignoring their hay (it is in chinchchix bags) to graze farther away than normal in winter, so I do think the grass is just starting.
If it turns out to be anything I'll update the thread, but for now it seems like just one of those things. I'm grateful for those who suggested maybe a bag of feed was suspect, I'll keep that in the back of my mind over the next few days.
I think their metabolism is changing, too...mine are not finishing off their night hay like they do in the cold. And they are shedding, another sign of metabolism change. Plus my girl has been in heat 3 times already! Spring!!